Four months after an oil train derailed and caught fire in the Columbia Gorge town of Mosier, the Wasco County Planning Commission has approved a proposal by Union Pacific to expand its rail facilities through Mosier, at the very site of the derailment in June. According to rail traffic experts retained by Friends of the Columbia Gorge, the rail expansion project could result in a major increase in rail traffic and oil trains through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, with the number of trains increasing by 45-52 per day.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Friends of the Columbia Gorge's staff attorney Steve McCoy about how oil trains have come to be a fixture through Gorge and what the future outlook is for this project.
As staff attorney for Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Steve works to protect the scenic, recreational, cultural, and natural resources of the Columbia River Gorge by ensuring that decisions made by federal, state, and local permitting agencies follow applicable laws. Before joining Friends in 2016, Steve spent seven years as a staff attorney with 1000 Friends of Oregon, protecting Oregon’s farms and forestlands from development.